Faith, sport and disengaged youth

Graveling, Ruth; Collins, Mike F; Parker, Andrew (2014)
Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University
English
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Set against a backdrop of faith-based explorations of sport with disengaged youth, the present paper presents findings from a project which sought to re-engage young people with sport via Christian youth ministry. Locating project participants at the center of the analysis, the paper draws on empirical data from participant-observation and semi-structured interviews with six respondents to analyze the effects of sports training provision on the lives of those concerned. Although several sports ministry organizations work with both Christians and non-Christians, to date none appear to have been focused on the training of non-Christian young people to become sports leaders while at the same time exploring the Christian faith. The principal aim of the present study is to explore whether sports leadership training is a relevant and successful way of exploring a series of Christian beliefs, principles, and values. The secondary aim is to assess the impact of the sporting provision on the participants themselves. Findings suggest that all project participants reported that the Academy had a significant impact on their lives. The paper concludes that the project was successful in broadening the personal and spiritual life experiences of participants citing opportunities around inclusion, achievement, and increased self-worth as the most important outcomes.

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